Life; the Sunrise, After the Sunset of a Long Marriage

“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Had I seen this quote two years ago when I was told to leave my home I had made with my husband and children, I would have probably laughed bitterly. I was married 20 years. For someone to be with another person, his family, friends, and animals; have two children together, and worked things out through many bad times, the walking away was nearly devastating to me. Who was I really? At the time my children were not speaking to me. Was I a wife? Not anymore. Was I a mom? Yes, just silent in the shadows. Was I single? In a tangible way, yes; mentally no. 

In many ways I felt alone, abandoned by many. I felt rejected.

The first few months were so hard. I found companionship with a man, who in age, could be my father. I latched on to him like a life raft. I felt as if I were drowning in my grief. I survived, I persevered, and even to my surprise, I thrived. Those first tentative steps into single status were daunting on many levels. I was responsible in making money to pay the bills. I had taken the first apartment I saw, hoping to live off student loans and grant money to supplement a paltry check from a part-part-time job. That means 15 hours a week. I took a 2nd job. I tried to keep above water financially, but in the end I fell behind and had to move in with family.

Ten months later, I have come full circle. I was able to move back in the same town I left, less than ten minutes from my children. I can see them several times a week and they can see me when they want. I am finishing up my bachelor’s degree and was able to get a paid apprenticeship at a nonprofit which gives me the opportunity to work in my chosen career. I am living in a lovely apartment nearly half of what it cost me last time to live in this area. I am truly blessed.

It has taken nearly two years, a divorce that cost me more than I could afford, yet with the help of family I survived. I can now look at this quote and smile. I can say life is 110% better than before and getting better all the time. 

Don’t lose hope. A mantra I held dear for the year I lived 2.5 hours away from my children was, “Have faith the size of a mustard seed.” Many days went by and I didn’t see or feel I was moving forward. I felt defeated at times. Yet I kept in mind that emotions are a fickle bunch and they are often temporary. I have the power to control them and my outlook. I started thanking the Universe for every little gift. I asked the Universe for guidance to see doors opening and I would do my part.

In order to create change, we have to be the change. I think Mahatma Gandhi said that. I could be wrong, but really think about this today. Be the change you seek in life. Keep your dreams alive and strive everyday to live them. Reinvent yourself if that is what it takes. Don’t take seemingly ‘bad’ set-backs to heart, they too are temporary.

We are all being redirected to be something better. Strive to be a better YOU. You will not regret it.

 

 

Contemplation

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I have had a bit of a hard time since Thanksgiving, with my internal dialog. I am fighting the demons of my past with the feelings of present loss. Loss of what was, those jewels of ‘good times’ that I miss so dearly. I am also fighting the ego of identity. For someone who has flipped her life upside down, and sideways too many times in the last year, I am feeling as though I am at the crossroads of coming out the other side. I’ve lost nearly everything I was. Crossroads1

With loss, opens doors and gives room for new things. I can’t remain a victim of my past and change will occur whether I want it or not. I have to feel the pain of growth, make decisions that benefit everyone (they may not see it that way), yet will really benefit me most of all. I have to put on the oxygen mask and save myself in order to save those around me. I have to keep that mindset now and discard that old one of a martyr. Still it hurts. My ego seeks identity as the landscape changes constantly. As I look towards a New Year, in many ways it is a chance to discard what was and embrace what is. What do I want in the next year? Does my reality really hinge on the outcome of the divorce? Should I move back to where I came from, where the family I chose to be my core tribe inhabits, only to feel the sting of not being a part of that family any longer? Should I move away or stay in this town, this haven my aunt and uncle have opened up to me? This doesn’t feel like home. I really haven’t considered it until I was forced to depend on family for shelter. Yet, back there, where I still go to college (online here, face to face there) might be a better choice. Doors a open, it is time to choose soon, the direction I need to go in. I feel like a clown, juggling, maintaining balance, but getting tired of the juggle, which may cause me to loose those balls, scattering them all around. At least they aren’t knives. I see the end soon, and the path still hiding dangers opens up in the distance to an open field of sunflowers dancing in the breeze of a warm Florida afternoon.

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A Hiatis

Sometimes in the daily hustle, we all just need to stop. And Breathe.ImageThat is what I have done the last week. I’ve shelved my writing, journal-ing… my thoughts outside of my head and turned inward. I needed to get quiet in my soul, and muddle around with fears, worries, wonders and grief… I have experienced waves of grief through letting go. A mind map picture of sand or water slipping through my fingers as my hand tries to cup tightly that which I want to hold.

I had a great visit with my adult daughter yesterday. I am so proud of her, the woman she is becoming. I told her of my ever evolving future; I am not making enough money currently to save for rent past June. My aunt has offered a room for me to stay with her family in Clearwater, two hours from where I currently live. This life change, once again so profound in such a short time has me scared of change. I am just now feeling settled into the solitude of living alone. I talk to my inner child and try to reassure her that this change isn’t as profoundly different than any other. I will MISS this place, THIS slice of heaven. I love being HERE. Yet, I knew always I couldn’t stay for long unless something opened up allowing me a better opportunity for work. I have also encouraged the move though… I haven’t been diligent enough to get myself exposed to facilitate such a job opportunity. Part of my negligence is basking in the tiny bit of comfort of the knowing. I know repetition, I know the company that I am currently working for, I know the familiarity of blue collar work life. If anything, having this service/retail job gives me stability in my life where everything else seems to be constantly changing like a kaleidoscope in a child’s hands.  

I am creating my own obstructions… and on purpose, to protect that scared inner child. A poignant reminder this weekend of that concept came to light when I chose to get pretty drunk Saturday and sought company of others, realizing on Sunday that in doing that I chose to block out the thought I wasn’t going to be invited to see my son being baptized. A woman’s intuition is strong, a mother’s intuition is spot on, deadly accurate at times. Yes, mom’s do have an all seeing third eye. I knew on Friday, extracting that information from a post his youth pastor posted – one of my son’s text message to his pastor and then another vague message the same pastor posted directly after the post mentioning my son. From that point on Friday morning ( or evening) to Sunday, I stuck my head deep into the bowels of blindness. My mind shut down that information because knowing I would not be there to see such an important event ( more important to me as I see as an adult the commitment to God in baptism is such a huge step; almost like being born and taking the first breath) because he didn’t want me there.  To compound matters, my daughter chose not to communicate with me all weekend and my now ex-husband who I saw on Saturday as we tied up loose ends on our dying marriage, never spoke a word. Yet they were present. The pain in my soul’s seat I felt Sunday after the event was profound. The anger and contempt I felt were confusing. Do I direct my anger towards my son who didn’t want me there? My daughter or more directly to my husband, who SHOULD know after 20 years of intimacy know how important that was to me? There have been a handful of life events that I, as my kids mother, have not witnessed first hand. I believe in retrospect, I am angry not at the people that kept me from being there, but at the Universe for teaching me an all important lesson of forgiveness. I needed to see that in forgiving myself I can forgive them. I had to step back, re-evaluate, look closer and see what the lesson was. In doing that, I was angry and held contempt about my own failures as a mother, that honestly I wouldn’t be here today, alone, if I had made different choices along the way. Sure, maybe divorced, but not so utterly alone as I have often feel, cut off from the family unit I once belong to.

I have to walk away from my tribe and find in that a new tribe to belong to. I will be alone for a while, drifting until that happens. That in itself is scary to contemplate. I will be stronger in the long run, knowing I will survive, my soul intact, my life view still looking out into the world through rose colored glasses. The blame game stops today. I am in control of my life, my choices, my thoughts and feelings. It is what it is and no more. I cannot and should not try to control the actions, thoughts and feelings of another. That in itself is futile anyway and only brings such an inner conflict that causes me the grief I have often felt in the past. Today I will forgive and take one feeble step outside of my dark corner, unfurl my body from the cocoon and gaze into the brightness of the day. I am more powerful than I have ever known. I am not that scared inner child.

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

– Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles